Letter from John Burbank to the WA Dept of Labor and Industries

This letter is to bring to your attention your legal duty to issue on September 30th an adjusted minimum  wage rate by increasing the current year’s minimum wage by the rate of inflation. To do otherwise is a  contravention of the law.

The mechanism to do so is clearly specified in the law passed by the people of the state in 1998. “The  adjusted minimum wage rate shall be calculated to the nearest cent using the consumer price index for  urban wage earners and clerical workers, CPI-W, or a success index, for the twelve months prior to each  September 1st as calculated by the United States department of labor.”

Accordingly, the Department should publicize the minimum wage to take effect on January 1, 2011 as  $8.67. The CPI-W increased 1.4% between August 2009 and August 2010. This results in an increase of  12 cents. Our current minimum wage is $8.55 an hour, so the additional increment shall bring the  minimum wage effective January 1, 2011 to $8.67.

Contrary to the Attorney General’s opinion and elaborate calculations, the law is clear and concise in  this matter. “On September 30, 2000, and on each following September 30th, the department of labor  and industries shall calculate an adjusted minimum wage area to maintain employee purchasing power  by increasing the current year’s minimum wage rate by the rate of inflation. The adjusted minimum  wage rate shall be calculated to the nearest cent using the consumer price index for urban wage earners  and clerical workers, CPI-W, or a successor index, for the twelve months prior to each September 1st as  calculated by the United States department of labor. Each adjusted minimum wage rate calculated  under this subsection (4)(b) takes effect on the following January 1st. (RCW 49.46.020(4)(b), set as law  through the passage of Initiative 688 in 1998)

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